Intake Interview – by Barbara Daniels

Can you write your name?
Push the button, maneuver
yourself onto this elevator

like a creaking cage? Do you have
the walker approved by
the government—no red roller

you’d tip over, no unreliable
four-pronged cane? How
can we help you if you sass

back at us in that Cleopatra
voice? Staff will sort and label
your clothes. Stop that mumbling.

Give me your hand. I read
on your palm that you’re trouble,
scarred fate lines, sad blue veins.

Do you carry a gun? That’s not
allowed here. Give it to me.
Whose teeth are you wearing?

Whose blank eyes? I see that
your skin slides down your face.
toward that mouth like a thin

streak of blood. Here’s a balcony
where wires come unstrung.
Wind slips its leash and runs

for it, wheezing, lolloping.
Here’s where you eat. Note
the fresh flowers and lack

of salt. You’ll have companions
to stave off your loneliness.
They’ll show you what hurts.

Barbara Daniels’ book, Rose Fever, was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks, Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen, by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Casa de Cinco Hermanas will also be publishing her full-length book, Talk to the Lioness. Barbara’s poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and other journals. She received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Painting: “She sees Spiritual Things
Artist: Henry L. Jones
2019 – 16×20 inches – mixed media on canvas